We all hope our children will avoid health challenges like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. You can help your child build lifelong healthy eating habits literally from their first bite! Children typically begin eating pureed or solid food around six months old. Until then, your child will get all the nutrients he needs from breastmilk or formula.
Your child needs a mix of foods to grow physically and to learn to enjoy different flavors and textures. When serving your child’s meal, fill half his plate with fruits and vegetables. Fill a quarter with proteins like lean meat, beans, or nuts. The last quarter should be grains and carbohydrates like whole grain bread, pasta, or crackers.
Reading nutrition facts on prepared foods can help you offer your child the healthiest choices. Teach him to read with you and involve him in making food selections as he grows. Pay attention to serving size while selecting foods that are low in saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. Try to maximize dietary fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals such as calcium and iron.
To drink, offer milk or water. Children under 1 year should drink breastmilk or formula. Offer children 1-2 years old whole milk. After that, consider reduced-fat (2%) or low-fat (1%) milk. Offer water to your child throughout the day instead of sugary beverages like fruit juice, soda, or sports drinks.
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